The Lions Rowing Club of Marina del Rey took home two national championships, two silver medals and one bronze medal from the 2008 Masters National Championships in Long Beach August 17th.

The nation’s best masters rowing teams came to Long Beach August 14th to 17th to test their skills against their fellow oarsmen and women on the historic course at Marine Stadium, which was home to the rowing events of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

On the first day of competition, the Lions Rowing Club B quadruple sculls, in which the average age of the crew was between 36 and 42, jumped out in front at the start of the 1,000-meter course and battled to hold on to its lead despite competing against some of the best teams in the country.

As the boat of Evelina Mendicini, Nora Waite, Anne Garrell, and Denise Cusano pulled through the finish line in a time of 3:54.80, they bested the second-place finishers, Marin Rowing Association, by 2.5 seconds.

The second gold medal for the team was won on August 16th. While the U.S. Olympic team was competing for gold in Beijing, the Lions lightweight women’s A quadruple sculls was battling down the course with rival Long Beach Rowing Association.

Both Lions and Long Beach traded the lead through the entire race, rowing stroke for stroke, but Lions held on for one of the closest wins of the race by 0.2 seconds. Although the boat of Ashley Peterson, Ann Marie Cody, Adrienne Lao, and Erika Anderson won the race in a time of 3:38.92, Long Beach was also awarded a gold medal because it won the B age category race.

“It’s exciting that we raced as well as we did this weekend,” said Dawn Regan, director of Loyola Marymount Rowing and Lions Rowing Club. “All the races were really close, which shows that Southern California rowing and Lions can compete with the best in the country.”

In the first race, the women’s AA double sculls, in which the average age is between 21 and 26 years old, the winning boat for San Diego Rowing Club jumped out to an early lead and held on to win by 3.3 seconds. However, the battle was really for second-place, as the Lions’ boat of Peterson and Cody pushed as hard as they could across the finish line to defeat the boat from Chesapeake Boathouse by 0.15 seconds — the distance of only a few inches.

By August 16th, seven of the nine members of the women’s A eight had already claimed gold medals. The race was the closest of the regatta, as only six seconds separated first and last place. As the boats crossed the 250-meter mark, Lions was ahead by only a few seats, but the team from Community Rowing, Inc. was able to pull ahead with a sprint to the finish and claim victory by 1.5 seconds.

The Lions boat of coxswain Anna Liberovsky, stroke Peterson, Cody, Mendicini, Alexi Lykissas, Anderson, Waite, Cusano, and Lao, finished second in a time of 3:37.90, only 0.35 seconds ahead of third place.

The bronze medal finisher, Patricia Greenfield, was in the women’s G single sculls race, in which the competitors were between 65 and 69 years of age. Greenfield finished in 6:17.11.

Information about Lions Rowing Club, Alexi Lykissas at (858) 220-0234 or www.lionsrc.com/.

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